Mumbai: In an embarrassing bloomer, the Maharashtra government has dropped the mention of anniversaries of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, democrat reformist Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj, social reformer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and B.R. Ambedkar from the 2019 calendar.
The calendar, distributed to all departments in Mantralaya and all government offices and organisations across the state, has omitted any reference to the death anniversaries of these legends, including Phule (November 28) and Ambedkar (December 6), which are observed by millions.
Strangely, there are mention of events like World Aids Day (December 1) and World Handicapped Day (December 3) among others, but the omission of Phule and Bharat Ratna Ambedkar have raised the heckles of opposition parties.
The Congress Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, attacked the government for "the extremely serious lapses" and demanded to know who will be held responsible for these.
"This (BJP-Shiv Sena) government exploits the names of all these towering personalities only for political purposes but has forgotten them in the annual calendar," Vikhe-Patil said.
Nationalist Congress Party leader Dhananjay Munde said these glaring omissions "are an insult to the memories of the two great personalities Phule and Ambedkar" and demanded an apology from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
"The CM must give an explanation on how the names and pictures of these stalwarts were dropped from the calendar, who is responsible for it and what action will be initiated against them," Munde said.
Ambedkar's death anniversary is observed as 'Mahaparinivan Day' annually when lakhs of Dalits and Buddhist followers converge at Dadar, Mumbai, to pay homage to his memory.
Shivaji Maharaj, Rajarshi Shahu and Phule are invoked by all politicians practically in all their speeches or rallies.
There has been no official reaction from the government.